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Top Tips for Writing a Resume to Get You that Job

Did you know, it takes a recruiter less than 30 seconds to decide on your resume? 

So, what exactly are they looking for in that brief period? 

Here are some tips to make your resume stand out and give you the best chance at landing an interview for your dream job. 

Use a clear font and a logical layout to pass the screening test.

These days most recruiters will be using screening software which helps them sort through thousands of resumes, so an easy-to-read resume, with good structure and a clear template, will allow content to be quickly scanned and understood by the AI software and a recruiter. 

Don’t try and get too fancy. Remember, the recruiters aren’t spending hours reading your resume, so it’s best to make it as straightforward and concise as you can. Short and precise content is the best for entry-to-mid level professionals. 

Sans serif is the preferred font for professional documents. Keep colours neutral unless you are applying for a more creative role. Canva is a great free resource and has several professional resume templates you can use.

Don’t forget to add critical achievements under each of your most recent positions, including the ways in which you have made a difference to the business, like increased sales by X% or grew social media following by Y%. 

Use a summary and incorporate meaningful industry keywords; these are critical!

Recruiters will scan the top third of your resume to see if you’re what they’re looking for. 

Besides your name, phone number and email, the top third of your resume is where you should put a powerful summary that defines who you are, what you can bring to the role/organisation and your career aims.

Use strong, active verbs to describe your experience; these are a must if you want to get noticed in a competitive pool of applicants. Some examples include ‘designed’, ‘developed’, ‘produced’, ‘planned’ and ‘oversaw’ and try to avoid using the same word. 

Optimise keywords. The screening software picks up keywords in your resume related to the role and will filter your CV depending on how optimised it is. So, the bottom line is, if your resume isn’t keyword optimised, you’ll never be filtered through to the following stages of screening, and other candidates with higher keyword matches will. As painful as this sounds, that means a human may never see your resume!

 

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Control your timeline and tailor, tailor, tailor

Your resume should be a selection of your most relevant work history related to that particular role, so look through to see if that old babysitting or bar job will increase your chance of getting the job, or just take up precious space.

Recruiters can usually tell if you didn’t make an effort to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. Read the job description and highlight the points that seem important and speak to your experience and skills. Once you know what the recruiter is looking for, find your experience to excite them the most.

Showcase the skills you’ve built, including extracurricular activities

Rather than focusing on just your technical skills and experience, a great resume also expresses and reflects the transferable employability skills increasingly sought after by today’s employers.

Extracurricular activities are a great way to showcase your essential life skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving. If you’re new to the workforce and haven’t had much experience, transferable skills and extracurricular activities are an excellent way to give recruiters and future employers an insight into your personality, and undoubtedly give you an advantage.

Most employers these days are looking for capability and potential. With the world of work changing so rapidly – skills are less important than behaviour attributes and abilities.

The skills you need today are different to the ones you’ll need in 10 years; its behaviours like resilience, teamwork, problem-solving that will underpin your career success and what future employers are looking for, so make the most of highlighting these.